Overloading the Machine

Spaghetti with Fennel, Golden Raisins, and Croutons

Recipes / Main Courses

Based on the The Boston Globe Magazine, Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven, 2004 October 24

Serves 4.

  • 2 thick slices stale country bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Olive oil (for sprinkling)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 2 bulbs fennel, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small hot chili pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti cooking water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Set the oven at 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the cubes of bread with enough oil to barely coat them. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet.

Toast the cubes in the oven, turning them often, for 20 minutes or until they are golden and crusty. Remove the croutons from the oven and set them aside.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large flameproof casserole, heat the oil and, when it is hot, add the butter. When the butter melts, cook the fennel over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until it softens. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and let the water return to a boil, stirring often. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes or until it is tender but still has some bite. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pasta water and remove 1/2 cup.

Drain the spaghetti into a colander and transfer it to a serving dish.

Add the fennel mixture, 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water, and the parsley. If the mixture seems dry add a little more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve at once.

Notes: Haven't tried it yet.

This page was last modified on 2011 December 20.